- Personalized learning has gained in popularity in recent years as new tech tools have made it easier to tailor instruction to student needs, but the Montessori model has emphasized individualized instruction for more than a century.
- Sara Cotner, founder and CEO of the Montessori for All network in Texas, writes for The Hechinger Report that the question of where a teacher fits into a personalized learning model has been answered by Montessori, where teachers serve as guides, delivering direct instruction to individual students or small groups and otherwise lets students learn on their own.
- Montessori schools let students move through a scaffolded, hands-on curriculum at their own pace, giving them the freedom to dive deep into topics that interest them and practice decision-making and taking ownership over their learning.
Perhaps administrators trying to fashion a School 2.0 vision for their districts should look back rather than forward. The Montessori model offers an option that eschews strict grade levels, something that threatens to hold schools back from truly allowing students to move at their own pace.
Other modern examples that rely on technology to personalize learning and provide a framework for student ownership of their progress include the Summit Public Schools, where students see a year’s worth of content in a learning management system and choose where to focus their energies first. Districts considering such radical shifts to classroom instruction need to provide training for teachers to understand their new roles as facilitators of learning.